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Manual Therapy for Migraine Relief

Updated: Apr 11

If you suffer from migraines you know how awful they can be, causing you hours or even days of suffering. These headaches are different from a tension headache as they often present with intense, throbbing pain and can be accompanied by nausea, light sensitivity, and neck tension. Migraines are extremely common and most often affect women between the ages of 20-40 years old. In fact, migraines are the top cause of disability in adults under 50 years of age!


While medications are commonly used to manage migraine symptoms, they often have side effects which can be unpleasant and you maybe curious as to what alternative treatments are available. At Gate City Physio we are firm believers in the power of manual therapy techniques to improve the quality of life for those who suffer from migraines. Some of the most common ways we've seen manual therapy benefit migraine sufferers are:

  • Decrease Neck Tension: Many migraines are triggered by muscle tension in the neck and shoulders. Manual therapy, such as dry needling,, myofascial release, and joint mobilization, can help release these tense muscles, providing relief and reducing the likelihood of migraine attacks.

  • Improve Neck Mobility: Migraine sufferers often experience reduced neck mobility, leading to stiffness and discomfort. Manual therapy techniques like joint mobilization and stretching can enhance neck flexibility, allowing for greater range of motion and relieving tension in the cervical spine.

  • Stress Reduction: Stress is a known migraine trigger, and manual therapy sessions can induce deep relaxation. The release of endorphins during therapy can help reduce stress, easing tension and potentially preventing migraine onset.

  • Medication Dependency Reduction: Many migraine sufferers rely on medication for pain relief, but overuse can lead to medication-overuse headaches (MOH). Manual therapy offers a drug-free alternative, reducing the need for frequent medication intake and the risk of MOH.

  • .Patient Empowerment: Learning self-care techniques during manual therapy sessions empowers patients to take an active role in managing their migraines. They can practice these techniques at home to further reduce symptoms.

To learn more about how manual physical therapy could help you to experience fewer migraine days, reach out to schedule a complimentary headache screen with Dr. Corey Hillman!



Dr. Corey Hillman is a Physical Therapist and owner of Gate City Physio – a boutique physical therapy clinic in Downtown Greensboro. He specializes in helping individuals suffering from jaw pain, headaches and neck pain regain their freedom and get back to enjoying the little things in life.




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